Aguilar has been Milwaukee’s hottest hitter over

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Aguilar has been Milwaukee’s hottest hitter over

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MILWAUKEE — Four months ago http://www.oaklandraidersteamonline.com/isaiah-johnson-jersey , Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell was trying to figure out how to fit Jesus Aguilar onto his roster. Now, Counsell is having a hard time taking the hard-hitting first baseman out of his starting lineup. Five of those home runs along with 12 RBIs have come over his last five games and he’s driven in multiple runs in five straight starts, tying a franchise record. “He’s certainly been one of the most pleasant surprises (this year),” Counsell said. “He was last year, as well and he’s taken it up a notch this year. You need those kind of performances you weren’t expecting. You need that kind of stuff.” All that from a player who came to spring training not sure if he’d have a job when the regular season opened. Acquired off waivers ahead of the 2017 season, Aguilar split time at first with Eric Thames last year, forming a potent right-left platoon combo. But after the Brewers acquired outfielders Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain over the winter, the team planned to transition outfielder Ryan Braun as an occasional right-handed option at first, which seemingly diminished Aguilar’s role. He played his way onto the roster with another strong spring training and established himself as a dangerous pinch-hitting threat before taking over first base on a more regular basis when Thames was lost to a thumb injury on April 25. “I’m confident in myself. When I get a chance to go, I’m going to give my 100 percent. That’s how I think.” Thames http://www.oaklandraidersteamonline.com/hunter-renfrow-jersey , who’s spent the majority of his playing time in the outfield since returning June 11, is still adjusting to the position but is happy for his teammate. “I mean, hey, the team is winning,” Thames said. “It was the same thing for him the first half of last year when I was going off. It’s great because we’re winning and today, he pretty much did it himself and it was awesome. I’m happy for him. He works hard. He’s such a smart hitter, smart player. He’s a great team guy so you can’t help but root for him.” His bat — as well as his defensive ability — have been a source of comfort for Brewers pitchers this season and will be Saturday for Chase Anderson, who takes the mound for Game 2 of the Brewers’ four-game series with the Cardinals at Miller Park. Anderson has yet to find the consistency that led to his breakout season a year ago. He’s 5-6 with a 4.54 ERA through his first 15 starts and has struggled keeping the ball inside the park. He’s allowed 15 home runs this season — one more than he gave up in all of 2017 — with 13 of those coming at Miller Park, where he’s 3-3 with a 5.70 ERA this season. He gave up two home runs in the opening inning his last time out, upping his first-inning ERA this season to 8.36. “It’s just one of those deals,” Anderson said. “That’s kind of been my thing since I was a kid. Obviously, I need to correct it and work on it and get better at getting guys out quicker. Something to work on.” The Cardinals answer with right-hander Miles Mikolas http://www.seattleseahawksteamonline.com/marquise-blair-jersey , who’s 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA in two career starts against the Brewers, both of which came this season. He allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings but took the victory on April 2 at Miller Park but didn’t factor in the decision after giving up another four runs, this time over 6 1/3 innings, in a 5-4 Cardinals loss on April 9 in St. Louis. “He pounds the strike zone and uses multiple pitches,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s just not every day you come across starters who can do that … and then to have durability and consistency to stay in the game as long as he has.” A victory Saturday would mark Milwaukee’s second series victory over the Cardinals in three tries this season. 24. CAROLINA PANTHERS (11-6)LAST SEASON: Panthers reached playoffs for third time in four seasons under coach Ron Rivera, but bowed out in first round with loss to New Orleans. Saints swept three games from Panthers, so finding better ways to match up against them will be priority. General manager Marty Hurney is back in charge in Carolina, making calls on draft day after Dave Gettleman was fired last summer.THEY NEED: DE, S, CB, RB, TE http://www.seattleseahawksteamonline.com/cody-barton-jersey , WR, G, QB.THEY DON’T NEED: QB, DT, LB, T, K, P.POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama; WR D.J. Moore, Maryland; TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina; CB Josh Jackson, Iowa; DE-LB Harold Landry http://www.seattleseahawksteamonline.com/phil-haynes-jersey , Boston College; DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA; S Derwin James, Florida State.OUTLOOK: Panthers need help all over after losing handful of veteran. Hurney has flexibility to take best player remaining on board. Panthers re-signed DE Julius Peppers for one more year, need young replacement there after cutting starter Charles Johnson. Carolina also let go of Jonathan Stewart, so will need running back to pair with last year’s first-rounder, Christian McCaffrey. Carolina could use thumper at safety after parting with Kurt Coleman. Torrey Smith was added to mix at wide receiver, but drafting deep threat is possible. Long-term replacement for TE Greg Olsen is also option and Hurst makes ton of sense if he’s still around at No. 24 given he is ranked by some asbest DT. Carolina also needs CB to replace Daryl Worley, traded to Philadelphia – and subsequently released by Eagles following off-field incident. Also need to give Cam Newton more weapons to work with on offense. Adding speed there should be priority.—